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HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many families are making plans for summer festivities. But it’s also a great time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with soaring weather.

Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one mechanism that does some hard work during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts pro shares seven do’s and don’ts to take into account when preparing your HVAC system for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A twice-a-year HVAC tune-up can act as an insurance plan against future failures. Although anything can happen when a system is being used quite a bit, getting your air conditioning, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before maintenance crews get busy during the scorching summer season can certainly help you ward off costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Regular maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which supports you in case a key component stops working during the warranty period.

African American man adjusting the temperature on the thermostat of his house - home automation concepts

“Tightening electrical components, cleaning condensate lines, cleaning the outdoor and indoor coils, and lubricating necessary components, it’s all part of the annual checkup we do,” said Service Experts Field Operations Manager Mike Carson. “And, we’ll change your air filters and answer any questions you may have too. It’s the best small investment any homeowner can make this time of year.”

Don’t Postpone Repairs

When a specialist recommends repairs during a tune-up or if they happen unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can stretch out the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This mindset, however, only leads to more costly repairs in the future.

Man replacing a filter on a home air conditioning system.

“Clogged lines, dirty filters, low refrigerant (Freon), loose or broken parts, you name it, it all contributes to how efficiently your system runs. It’s always best to address problems when they arise to keep it operating to its full potential,” Carson explained.

Do Upgrade Your Thermostat

If you haven’t already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat may decrease wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment. Consider this: Energy savings estimates can run from as low as 12% a year to higher than 20%. Your best bet is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson said, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that line up with your daily schedule. In some places, you also may be able to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use a Very Restrictive Air Filter

Regularly replacing your air filter is essential; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. Some can be extremely restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and potentially make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good idea to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Eliminate Obstructions

This is not merely a tip about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can limit airflow into that room or zone. That means your air conditioning will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.

The other location where obstructions can cause trouble is near your condenser coil outside the home. Some property owners see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with bushes or even build structures or other landscaping. Think again!

Bag of repairman's work tools, gloves on top of air conditioner units outside a brick home.  Service industry, working class.

“Obstructions to units and vents on the inside and outside of the home can be both an efficiency and safety concern,” Carson remarked. “Covering up or blocking return air vents, where the system draws in the air inside the home is another common problem we see. These things can be like asking your system to work harder while wearing a very heavy face mask.”

Don’t Overlook Your Air Ducts

Clean air ducts are crucial to the well-being of your home—and the people living in it. Pollen and airborne toxins from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all reside inside your air ducts and cause trouble for people suffering from asthma and allergies.

Here are a few signs your home may be ready for an air duct cleaning:

  • Mold has been discovered in the home or on the inside of the air conditioner.
  • Dust blows out of vents when the blower comes on.
  • A renovation involving considerable dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade

If your system is close to the end of its life, replacing it with a high-tech high-efficiency system before summertime is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Though that has always been the case, it’s more true now than ever before.

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